The story behind Apple’s iconic logo

Posted on by Guy Cookson

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From Logo Design Love, the story behind Apple’s iconic bitten apple logo, as told by the designer Rob Janoff:

What’s the reason behind the bite?

Like many things, stories have a way of getting stretched and changed in the retelling. I was going for the silhouette of an apple, but to make it look more like an apple and not some other round fruit, I did what one does with an apple, I took a bite out of it. The most enlightening part of the project came about ten years later when I started reading the stories about why I designed the logo the way I did. The stories are way more interesting than my rationale. Stories are told and people believe them and the lore gets passed on (all before social media). The fact that people believe the stories tells me that people feel a special connection with it, beyond the love they have for the devices the logo adorns.

Your version of the logo had colourful stripes to represent the full-colour displays of Apple. Was the audience supposed to get it?

The coloured stripes did illustrate Apple’s main point of difference when compared to the competition, but it served a more important function. I thought one of my biggest challenges in designing the logo was to make a computer seem friendly enough to bring home for the whole family to use. Computers back then had a harsh and negative connotation, I wanted to create a warm and positive feeling about the Apple computer.

What’s the most important feature of a well-designed logo?

Simplicity. Too often clients have long laundry lists of elements the logo “must have.” That’s a recipe for failure. Logos need to be simple and distinctive or they won’t be remembered. The frequency that a logo is seen is a huge factor in its success. The fact that the Apple logo was on the corner of every screen of every Apple product helped to make it an internationally known (and loved) icon.

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